Sunday, July 17, 2005

HOME AGAIN, SAFE AND SOUND

ladies and gentlemen, the concluding voyages:

Before we left charleston, there was the maritime/naval museum to check out. the others went off to walk around town but i sought out the WWII era submarine, aircraft carrier, destroyer, and coast guard cutter. walked around for hours of intense enjoyment. the submarine was my favorite part. felt like i was walking through a space ship. i don't want to be in the military but i'm fascinated by the technology, the similarities to space, and the organization and efficiency of the military structure. mainly, though, i like seeing the different environments that people live in.

The other highlight of charleston was playing baseball. we bought a bat and some balls and had some mitts on board, so we went to a park and for hours we hit fly ball after fly ball, "way back...way back". it was great exercise and we were all sore the next day from long throws and many hits.

Then we departed Charleston at 6pm, sailed into the night towards beaufort, north carolina, where we arrived two nights and many threatening thunderstorms later. From beaufort, we made our way into the intracoastal waterway, motoring for two days and one night to norfolk, virginia. the motoring got tiring on the ears, but we made progress, and went through the night, to make one less day of it.

In norfolk, we stayed just long enough to get some groceries, some fuel and a good night's sleep, then off again, this time for our home port! The highlight of this passage was at 2am, rob woke us up to say that there were dolphins on the bow lit up by phospherecense. i was tired and having once before seen this sight a few years before, i hesitated but then realized i had to pee, so i ventured up on deck to kill two birds with one stone. what i found were missle like contrails streaking through the water as if we were being attacked by some unseen force. we could see the entire outlines of the dolphins as they rode our bow wave in such sparkling clarity. and when they would dive, the light would become a dull glow that would increase in brilliance as the dolphin came back to the surface. we were giddy with delight and could not bare to leave the scene. more than five of them, there were, sometimes in formation like a pack of jet aircraft, then breaking formation, they would go every which way only to regroup by the bow. fascinating. another highlight for the others was shooting ted's new $35 bb gun rifle at full coors light cans that we have had stowed onboard for nine months - they were given to us and none of us really drink beer that much. they were much more valued for their spray after being poled out away from the boat and used as targets. great satisfaction for hitting your target.

we had a good bit of fug once we got into massachusetts waters, and thanks to the radar, and our trumpet which doubles as a fog horn, we stayed clear of buoys and other boats. finally made it through the cape cod canal, below hords of cars gonig to and from the cape. into cape cod bay we went, and were finally able to hoist the sails one more time. a few hours and we were into duxbury bay where a boat with all of our families waving and smiling. a few moments later and we were on the dock having gone nearly 7,000 nautical miles enroute to panama and back. many hugs, hand shakes and congratulations from the fams. throughout the last days on the haus, we've all had a bit of time to think about the fact that this whole thing is really coming to a close. it's been over a year long project with so many unknowns, and now our voyage has come a complete circle. it all seems like it went by so quickly. nine months was a great length for the voyage and while it seems very strange to be home, we are all looking forward to new adventures. these new adventures span a wide spectrum for each of us, but between us they include perhaps a dog, a girlfriend, moving in with a girlfriend, moving back to montana, moving back to oregon, moving to portland, maine, high school teaching, weed mapping, contruction, more sailing... many unknowns, but i know i'm excited about mine. for the upcoming winter i've applied for a job in antarctica as a field instructor. it's a long shot, but i've wanted to go there for many years and this would be my dream job that i've been waiting to apply to for years.

so now i'm home, returning to the haus for the next week or so to clear it out, clean it out and get it ready for winter, and for sale. if any of you or folks you know are interested in a crazy horse adventure of your own, let me know.

though i usually have no trouble adjusting to being home, when i think of being on the haus, it's strange to think that my patern of living has just been wildly broken. no longer will i have to go outside to go to the bathroom, spit my toothpaste out, or wash the dishes. no longer will i have to set my bed up every time i go to sleep, nor roll it all up when i wake up. no longer will i live in a 35 by 9 foot house (including deck) with three other guys for days on end. no longer will i live by the compass, and the winds, no longer will i have to check the weather forecasts each day, no longer will i have to use a hand pump to get my drinking water. it is all very different, but living in different conditions and in a different style is one of my favorite aspects of living on a sailboat, or a spacecraft for that matter. just like a submarine. there are more comforts here, and i'm enjoying them, but i'm planning to get out and about as soon as possible. i cannot stand for long living without the compass, the weather, and the sun, moon and stars. i hope to be indoors just long enough to get cleaned up, debriefed, and prepared for the next chapter. already, i get antsy. thought the time had come to get a cell phone, so i went to the verizon store, waited an hour, had my phone and plan all picked up, waited for an hour while this one guy started raising his voice, workers had to tell him to calm down, and not yell. others were pacing the room, waiting to be helped, but there were not enough workers, patience of the masses were wearing as thin and mine was too for my frustration and disgrace of our unhappy and impatient human race. thankfully i began talking with an italian man, and we shared bits of our stories. so seconds before it was my turn, i decided, i wanted no part of this maddness and bitterness so i walked out. so maybe i'll get one next week, but it was too much to go from the simplicity of the haus to the anger and stress that was the verizon store.

well, it has been very enjoyable for me to write for an audience for the first time and i hope you've enjoyed our stories. thanks very much for reading and for your notes in return. though there are many different directions which we will be going in a few short weeks, we are hoping to have some sort of party for everyone so we can show pictures, a video and maybe a story or two - maybe even some reenactments. would probably be in the first half of august if it happens. no telling though. will email if we are able to pull it together. otherwise, thanks again, crazy horse kept us safe because she knew how many people we thinking of her and her crew.

adios muchachos.

Friday, July 01, 2005

KEY WEST, FLORIDA, USA

hi gang,

we made it into the darkness of key west, florida last night at 11pm. nice to have so many lighted buoys and other navaids to follow and nice to again have good, acurate charts of where we're sailing - especially ones that were taken from data collected in the 1900s. the passage was four days, three nights, about 80 hours. it took lots of motoring as the forecasted SE 10-15 often arrived as E 5. so it goes. our attempt to find the gulfstream was somewhat unsuccessful, but we made it here safe and sound and are now planning on going north as fast as possible, which is as fast as the weather allows. strange to be back in the states, but it's nice to be in our home country. adios and thanks to all who replied to my last emails.

ben